Well, apart from my Valentine chocolates!
What do mice actually eat?
I found the right card and heart shaped, caramel chocolates perfect for Valentines. I hid them safely in the bottom of the kitchen cupboard (where he never looks). Only to discover a few days later a big hole chewed right through the plastic packaging and some of the chocolate hearts scattered at the back of the cupboard with nibble marks on them.
As an avid watcher of cartoons as a child, I’d always assumed mice like cheese. It seems my childhood perspective was less than accurate.
A study done by Dr. David Holmes of Manchester Metropolitan University showed that if hungry enough these rodents will eat just about anything. House mice are omnivores but do have a preference to eat foods that contain grains, cereals, fruits or seeds as well as foods higher in carbs … like my chocolate caramel hearts!
Do mice like cheese?
It seems they tend only to eat cheese if there is no alternative food source. In rural areas grains, fruits and seeds are more readily available so rodents become use to foraging for these foods. As scavengers and commensal pests mice will “eat from our table”. So house mice will choose from whatever food is available and relatively easily accessible, with a preference for high energy carbohydrates.
In urban locations where there are greater quantities of meat available to scavenge and with mice being inquisitive they will try a variety of foods. They will happily live on a diet of discarded take-away spillages and food waste in bins, be it chips, burgers or fried chicken.
Best bait for mice?
So, if cheese isn’t going to work as bait in a mouse trap, what’s a better alternative?
Well I could use the rest of my chocolate caramel hearts, as they have taken a liking to them already. Defra’s ‘Rural Development Technical Note 05 on House Mice’ does advise using foodstuffs that mice are already feeding on as bait.
Other options include biscuits, porridge oats, chocolate and cake. Mice are however intelligent creatures and have been known to extract bait from traps without setting them off. So if you seem to have stealthy rodents you could try smearing some sweet treats in the mouse trap that are not so easily stolen, such as:
- Peanut butter
- Hazelnut spread
I shall be setting the remains of my chocolate caramel hearts as bait. As well as tracking down where mice are getting into the house and blocking these gaps to mouse proof my home and prevent another mouse infestation.